Anna, a young German woman emigrated to New Zealand with her husband Wilhelm and baby son in 1875. She went deaf soon after her arrival and was unable to learn English. After 22 years she was left a widow with half of her eight children under the age of twelve. There was no social welfare back then, her older sons provided for her. She didn’t have citizenship because their papers were destroyed in the bush fires that had raged through the province in the 1880’s.
Although Anna could not hear, she was not deaf when it came to hearing from God. His became the only voice she could hear. She heard him by reading his word. A stranger in a strange land, her consolation came from the great words of the Bible.
Anna was my great-great grandmother. It was obvious from a couple of very old letters of Anna’s that she’d made contact with the Lord through reading the Bible. Some have described Anna’s letters as ‘religious’. I didn’t see it that way. Even though she was a stranger from another culture writing in German, I felt she was speaking my language. Her letters comforted me.
This is one of the things she wrote;
“Trust the Lord in your ways and free yourself of your troubles. Trust His fatherly care, before him nothing is too hard or too large that He cannot guide and lead you by the glory of His name to greater love and happiness. Of all the people and possessions, my saviour is still nearest to me. The Lord sees into your heart.” Anna Dassler.
Her words eventually helped guide me back to the Father. It took me a long time to realise that an ancestor’s legacy of faith was God’s gift to me.
I came to know the Lord after a gap of three generations. The reason the faith did not get handed down could have been because of hearing and language difficulties and the loss of Wilhelm, or it could have been the presence of Freemasonry in the family. Or it could have been a combination of all of those factors.
I had my hearing, but I was deaf to God at first. It took me 20 years before I could hear him. I first heard him at the age of 35 while reading from Hosea in the Bible.
Sometimes I’m asked how I am able to hear God’s voice. I look at it like this; he’s an author, and we’re in his story. The Lord is called “the author and finisher of our faith” in Hebrews 12:1-2.
We hear him through faith, by taking him at his word. As I said; faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word. That word is the Bible. It’s the only book that has the power to reach the spirit. On its own can be mistaken for a series of stories, wise sayings, and songs. However it is only through the development of a relationship with the author of the Bible, getting to know his thought processes and connecting with his spirit that we come to recognise the power of his word.
So I began to hear the author of the Bible after reading his book. Jesus calls it having “ears to hear”. He taught in parables saying “Whoever has ears, let them hear,” Matthew 11:15
What happens when we haven’t read or heard the word? God will use signs, dreams, coincidences, and songs or movies from those prophets of the world who have been inspired to write things that line up with his word. But his normal way of speaking personally to us is through the Rhema word; a word from the Bible for personal application.
I encourage my son and daughter to read the Bible. I say it’s the most important book they’ll ever read. I know if they read it, hearing will come. But it’s up to them. I hope they will listen to me because the time is late.
I do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for us to wake up from our slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11.
In my next blog post, I’m going to show you how God is speaking to those who haven’t read the Bible.